the army of luck

This is just your daily reminder

That Gal Gadot has never ‘supported the Palestinian genocide’.

Does not have a rifle with the notch marks of all those she’s killed.

And has stated outright that she believes in coexistence.

She worked as a fitness instructor, never seeing combat during her mandatory stint in the Israeli army (IDF), and the only thing she said was that she wished luck to her former colleagues in the army (you know, the equivalent of ‘Support Our Troops’) and specifically wished them luck against (and condemned) Hamas, which is a terrorist organization.  Her tags then went on to note #stopterror and #coexistance.

You don’t have to like her, or Wonder Woman, or DC, but if you could keep the antisemitism out of it, that’d be great.

4

171116 VLIVE W/ HOSEOK

I was too busy writing comments, so I only got to write down about some topics he talked about:

- Most important: his mixtape is still in the process. He asked for everyone to please be patient as his mixtape has not reached its full potential. He wishes he can give us a release date, but he is quite far from that. The process is very tedious. Hoseok is treating his mixtape as an album. Many songs have been made, but at the same time many have been deleted. Just send him luck and support!
- Hoseok mentioned for European ARMYs to not worry because they are going to visit them soon! You all are not forgotten and are in discussion.
- He talked about the outfits their stylist packed for their America. He finds them to be extremely cool. As a dancer, he feels it is important to wear the perfect outfit in order for everything to flow well.
- “The last time I came on VLIVE, 1000 people had joined, but now there’s 260,000+ watching! I’m in complete shock. Thank you everyone for watching. It’s really cool.”
- Then he spoke about MIC DROP remix for a few minutes. “I think it came out extremely well. Steve Aoki was impressive to learn from while we did the acting part. We will meet and talk soon.”
- He took off his beanie because everyone kept talking about his red hair. Then he said he’s been trying out different styles and thinks he looks good.
- A fan asked whose fart smells the worst in which he laughed, “that’s too weird to answer”.
- Hoseok requested that fans start calling Namjoon by RM. He understands many are attached to Rap Monster, but Namjoon struggled a lot when deciding whether he wanted to change to RM or not.
- Slight mention about Jungkook’s studio. Apparently he is working hard at creating new beats. Jungkook keeps growing in every way possible.
- If they reach 10M followers on VLIVE, he promises to show his abs.
- Then he shared a book he has been reading, “Living, Loving, Learning” (?) It’s about the importance of loving yourself. He said he truly does love himself.
- Is practicing hard on learning new languages. His goal is to be able to fluently speak to international ARMYs.
- LOTS OF SMILES WHILE READING COMMENTS. I joined the VLIVE since he started it and let me tell you.. everyone was so nice in the comments. No one was talking about other members and only about Hoseok. Just saying, we all kept him smiling.

anonymous asked:

No. I'm starting school today. The thing is, I'm a junior and I changed my school. So now all juniors are younger than me & I'm at the same age with seniors. I'm so nervous, PLEASE say something to calm me. Please.

Calm down, you will be fine! If they say something that makes you feel uncomfortable… Just think “What would Min Yoonji do?”

Hello, this is Cely (cowjimin) and Sana (chokemejimin)!

This comeback season we have decided to team up for a special collaborated giveaway in celebration of BTS’ amazing success, for yet another website crashing album. You could say we’re taking the album title, ’YOU NEVER WALK ALONE’ quite literally. We’d also like to take this moment to thank everyone that has been with BTS (and us!!) up until now, and are hoping that everyone is as excited for this comeback as much as we are. Good luck to all ARMY that decide to join our very first collaborated giveaway and let’s make sure that we continue to support BTS forever! 

Items:

  • BTS: YOU NEVER WALK ALONE LEFT and RIGHT (unsealed, no photocard, with folded poster and special standee)

Rules:

  • There will be TWO WINNERS. (first winner will pick which version they want and second winner will receive the other one)
  • Re-blogs and likes count. (re-blog as much as you want, but please DO NOT spam your followers)
  •  MUST BE FOLLOWING @cowjimin and @chokemejimin to win.
  • Must be 18+ or have parents permission.
  • Absolutely NO GIVEAWAY BLOGS.
  • The winner will be chosen using Random.ORG.
  • Please remember to keep your message or ask box open.
  • DO NOT delete any of this text.
  • Open internationally.
  • This giveaway will end March 9th at 5pm EST

GIVEAWAY CLOSED / WINNERS WILL BE PICKED AND ANNOUNCED SOON~

Thank you P-Goon for staying with the boys so long, through all the up and downs. You were an awesome leader and someone Toppklass will always look up to and after. Good luck in the army and I look forward to your acting career.

Originally posted by p-guns


Nakta I need you to remember something, all these hatters,

Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Will never measure even a quarter of a percentage up to you. Live your life for all your fans. Cause we love you with all our hearts. Because you,

Our Handsome Camel,

are a part of our hearts! Live your life and do whatever you want cause we will always support you with our beautiful hearts

Originally posted by nabiso


Hansol, well done my butterfly! Your wings are so pretty, they blind us yet we can’t help looking at them. Please never hide them cause they deserve to be seen by the world. Good luck on getting into the army.

Originally posted by kralotex


Can you hear us?

You can’t see us?

We are there boys!

Right behind you!

Even if we have different paths.

Even if our paths are paths that

may never meet.

Cause we are your fans,


And you our idols.



Originally posted by p-guns

Oh and Hunus,


ROT IN HELL

anonymous asked:

hey! i'm also 20 and i'm also starting uni soon after 2 years in the army. i'm scared as hell though, i hope we'll be ok.

you’ve worked hard and you’ll do fine!! make lots of new friends and meet fellow mates that you can exchange army stories with. i wish you luck in pursuing your degree!!!!

anamaria9956  asked:

Taiga... Finals are coming in a couple of months and I have digital exams, foreign language exam, native language exam with 34 lectures to learn ( and they will chose only one) , history exam and geography/ philosophy exam ( I have to chose between the two). All this to get a damn diploma and get into a damn university. End me please.

Awww you will do fine! Just don’t stress too much… As a great man once said:

How I would want next week's episode to go:
  • Simmons: We're against a whole army of robots, we're outgunned and out of luck. Radcliffe knows how we think so we need to think outside the box.
  • Fitz: I got an idea.
  • Simmons: So do I.
  • Fitz: Well, let's combine our plans then!
  • *next scene*
  • Bobbi: Thanks for calling us Simmons.
  • Hunter: Happy to help fight against Skynet.
  • Simmons: It's more like the Matrix than Skynet but whatever. Okay, this was my plan. Fitz, how did your plan fair-
  • *gates to hell open and Robbie rides out in his Hell Charger*
  • Robbie: Miss me?
  • Fitz: Can't believe it worked! Oh, hey Bobbi and Hunter, this is Robbie. He's gonna help us out.
  • Bobbi: ...
  • Hunter: ...
  • Robbie: What are we doing just standing around? Let's go destroy some robots.
Newcomers Pt 12

For hours the battle for Geeda’s airspace raged, the anti air fire was immense and filled the sky with thousands of shells often fired blindly in the hopes they would hit a Human craft. They often did but the Human bombers refused to let loose their own payload blind for fear they would hit their own troops within the city and their new allies the freed slaves or rebels as they were coming to be known. Unfortunately they did not hit many of their targets, the city’s anti air fire was just to intense to risk.

Then the Human/Gal forces marched on the city with three of their Bastions leading the way who towered over the infantry and tanks like giants. The hundreds of thousands of Humans and Gal with their vehicles and the Bastions moved across the planet like a black tide. And sat, just outside the range of the city’s guns. The city fired their artillery mounted on the walls but as expected they fell short and the Humans refused to advance any further. But they did respond. Three bastions took a number of steps forward, it brought them into range of the Benemar guns but it meant they could fire theirs. Their two cannons on their backs were the only ones that could reach the city, it being some miles away they arched their guns. And fired.

The blast was like thunder that shook the bones, many Humans and Gal were knocked from their feet from the shockwave of the cannon’s discharge. Then a few seconds later, it’s second cannon fired. It took nearly 30 seconds for the first shells fired to reach the city and when it struck, the Benemar felt like their war god itself had struck their walls. Despite the range the Humans were very accurate and many artillery placements erupted in flames or were incinerated but sometimes a shell would be too high and hit the town collapsing buildings or would be too low and hit the wall causing immense damage but did not bring it down.


Chief Geedol had been the garrison commander for nearly all his adult life, in fact his family name comes from this very city and they had guarded it for countless generations. In fact it was his ancestor that had beaten back the Humans the first time they were here and this city had been the only one not to fall during that invasion. Now he watched from his control tower at their second attempt to take his city, he smiled to himself. The air raids had been inefficient as he had seen that the city’s anti air defences had been lacking some years ago and reinforced them. The holographic map of the city and it’s surroundings was placed in the middle of his commanding room. The enemy had not advanced and still relied on these Bastions to siege the city.

“What are they planning?” he said to himself.

“Do they really intend to take down the walls with only those things?” asked one of his staff.

“No, they do not seem to be targeting the wall” Geedol said “More they seem to be aiming for the guns even if they have only knocked out a few”

“We have begun moving guns from the northern and western walls as the enemy cannot approach from those sides due to the river. They will add to our arsenal as replace any losses we have sustained”

Chief Geedol watched the holographic display, it also tracked shell projections and where his units were. From this room he could command the entire battle without looking out the window.

“What damage have we done to their Bastions?” he asked.

“Minimal, they are at the very edge of the range of our guns and any hit we do manage to score is mainly due to luck”

“What is the size of the enemy army” asked Setom who was Geedol’s second in command.

“Hard to say, but we estimate that it must be close to 2 million enemy warriors both Human and Gal”

“Just fighting one of these foe’s is hard enough but for them to work together is troublesome” Geedol said “But what are they waiting for?”

“Chief?” Setom asked.

“They could have attacked days ago but still they sit there and continue to exchange shells with us, the wall is not coming down and we are replacing the guns they destroy so what are they doing?”

“Could this have something to do with the slave breakout the other day?” Setom asked.

“What did you say?”

“The slave breakout, a large number of slaves got out of the pens and freed the others, we have yet to locate them”

“Why was I not told of this!?” Geedol said advancing on Setom.

“We did not think it worth your attention, we already have teams searching for them”

Geedol’s eyes bulged and he spat on the ground “They’re here, they’re already in the city” he said his voice barley a whisper.

“Chief?”

“Send every available warrior to hunt them down I want them found”

“But chief I-”

“NOW!”


Oma hid his cell of rebel fighters from view near one of the gates to the city as suddenly a huge number of Benemar warriors came into view, some jumped off their transports to reinforce the gate and other sped away.

“Well this complicates things” he said to himself.

“What do we do now?” asked a rebel.

“You stay quiet and hidden, I am going to take a look around”

Oma activated his camo armour and slid away, what he was really doing was getting to higher ground as the buildings inhibited his com’s ability to transmit.

“Sergeant Faye this is Corporal Oma, do you read me?”

“I do Oma” her voice came through as calm and collected as ever.

“I’m guessing you have noticed the Benemar’s increased actions”

“We have, other cells are reporting the same thing”  

“Do you think they are onto us?” he asked.

“It is possible and likely, our actions could not remain hidden for long”

“What do we do? Move up our schedule or stay on it?”

“My orders were to delay, but as a great general said, it is a bad plan one that cannot be changed, so we are changing it. Begin sabotage operations to their garrisons and storage facilities”

“Yes ma'am”

The city of Geeda erupted in multiple small fires almost simultaneously, these attacks were not effective in damaging the city or it’s infrastructure but it did sow the seeds of fear in the population. They had been told the enemy was miles away only to find them in their streets even if they were only rebels but they were wielding Human weapons. This confirmed Chief Geedol’s suspicions that they were already within the city walls and were up to something but something else gnawed at him. These attacks did nothing to harm the defence and no actual Humans had been seen with them. Where were they, where were they hiding and what were they planning?

For hours he stared at the holographic map before deactivating it and rolling out a paper one that had not been used in many years hoping another perspective would give him some insight. He looked at the outlay of the city, turning the map to look at it from another angle and thinking himself as the attacker. How would he assault the city, what would he do? Then he saw it, his jaw dropped and he looked out of the tower towards the east where the enemy was arrayed to attack the city in plain view. Plain view, they were not even trying to hide, in fact they were making every attempt to make themselves seen. He turned to the one direction they were not watching, the western side of the city, all the guns from there had been moved and it had little to no garrison and most of the civilian population was evacuated there. But the river? It was basically a small ocean in it’s own right and there was nothing coming across it, even still the current of it was strong, very strong so much that their ancestors called it the river of blood. What could….another thought came.

The reports had told of ten Bastions being deployed to the planet, five marched east and five marched west towards him. But why were only three firing on the city? “Where are the other two?”

A klaxon sounded, not any Benemar klaxon this was unmistakably an alien one and it shook buildings and shattered windows. He turned his head to the west knowing what it was before he saw them, the two remaining Bastions rising out of the river. As if this was the signal all the gates save for the eastern gates erupted in flames and were buried sealing them shut. Behind the two Bastions came more Human constructs and infantry. To the east the main army that had been waiting for so long was finally advancing and the sky became black with the shadows of thousands of enemy fighter craft.

What they thought their sanctuary, was now their prison.

@chelseablij Some more black and white photos for you. Plus some ramblings they inspired in me. 🙂


I get Old Hollywood AU vibes off these photos. Like maybe John is an ex-army doctor turned screenwriter not long back from WW2 and trying his luck in America, and there’s a murder on the set of his new film. Someone’s bumped off the leading man, but the studio, Stamford Productions, wants to avoid scandal. So their Head of Security, Greg Lestrade, brings in his old friend and renowned detective, Sherlock Holmes, currently visiting from London, to investigate.


John is instantly smitten by both the detective’s looks and intelligence. Sherlock, meanwhile, is intrigued by this brave but damaged man who isn’t intimidated by his genius but rather in awe of it. It’s a new experience for him, and a thrilling one at that, so he ropes John in to help him solve the mystery.


The film’s director, however, the controversial James Moriarty (a man who thinks of actors, and people in general, as mere puppets to be commanded to his will and calls himself ‘The Puppet Master’), known for his cruelty and debauchery as much as his brilliance, thinks Sherlock with his striking good looks and keen wit would make an excellent replacement for Philip Anderson, the late leading man. John doesn’t disagree with him, but he doesn’t want to look too closely at the sudden irrational feelings of irritation that feel just a little too much like jealousy for his comfort every time he sees Moriarty trying to ingratiate himself with Sherlock.


He’s also not too happy when it seems like the film’s leading lady, the latest upcoming starlet, It girl and all-round femme fatale, Irene Adler, is also making a play for Sherlock. But could she merely be trying to distract the detective and throw him off his game in an attempt to cover up her own complicity in the murder?


As the investigation unfolds new facts come to light about the victim. Sherlock discovers that not only was he a womaniser and gambler, but that he had a drug problem, much like Sherlock himself, and that he owed a great deal of money to a drug baron by the name of Frank Hudson. Frank’s wife, Martha, another British exile to Hollywood and former dancer with the Ziegfeld Follies, married him after a whirlwind romance, but now the initial attraction has worn off and, having seen her husband’s true colours, she lives in fear of him. Both John and Sherlock feel an immediate kinship with the slightly older woman who reminds them of home and brings out their protective instincts.


They also discover that the studio nurse, a feisty blonde and former secret agent, now calling herself Mary Morstan, was Frank Hudson’s connection at the studio, using her position there to supply his drugs to the actors, directors, etc. Could Anderson have been threatening to expose her role in Hudson’s drug empire, or details of her shady past, if she didn’t help him pay off his debt?


And then there’s the studio’s resident ‘script doctor’, a seemingly mousy little thing called Molly Hooper, who’s job it is to 'autopsy’ scripts that just aren’t working, to analyse what is falling flat within them and find a way to fix it. She was in love with the late actor and he played up to it because he knew she had the power to change scripts to his advantage, giving him more lines and screen time. But could finding out that he had not only been using her for his own ends, but had also been having an affair with her roommate, Sally Donovan, have caused the mouse to reveal hidden depths and turn on the man she professed to love? After all, still waters run deep and hell hath no fury…


Things come to a head with the arrival of Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, from London, seeking to bring his brother back to England and away from what he fears may be an environment ripe with temptation for a recovering drug addict. His presence threatens to stall both the investigation and the fledgling friendship (and possibly more) between John and Sherlock.


Can they hold the man Sherlock has dubbed 'the British Government’, plus an assorted cast of sadistic, tyrannical directors, femme fatales, former spies, drug barons and women scorned at bay long enough to find the killer and reveal their feelings for each other? Or will the mystery of both Anderson’s murder and John and Sherlock’s hearts go unsolved? Not if Sherlock can help it…

Fluff Marathon # 8

Ivar The Boneless

Request:  What about ivar being in the middle of a serious meeting or something, but his daughter goes in and he totally melts and is all smiles? Or maybe a younger sister.

Taglist: @inthenameofodin @itharley @burningsunshin3 @miss-brightly-red @odins-missing-eye @float-autumn-leave @zombie-zayde @nothingbuthappydays @dani-si @decaffeinatedeaglefart @natmors @dangerousvikings @sugakookiexx @ivarbarnes @ruler-of-hel 


You lifted your sword and pointed it towards his chest, giving a little smile while doing it. He slowly shook his head from on the tree stump he sat on, tensing his fingers around his own sword, not even looking away from you for a second. You drown in that gaze of his, those sea blue eyes challenging you, admiring you for picking up a sword. You didn’t do it to raid, to conquer; you did it to protect your family. He lifted his sword, ticking its tip against yours before you pulled back and really started fighting him. Ivar was well known for his balanced sword skills, certainly because he fought in a different way. And you were so adapted to it, devoted in protecting everything what was yours. Your foot work was lighted, not as strong is your arms as you were fast in your body. The concentrated frown in your eyebrows made him smile while he parried your sweep with the sword and twirled his sword around it, kicking it right out of your hand. The sword flew to the ground and Ivar turned back with that famously smug grin, missing offcourse the fact that you grabbed for a dagger, throwing it up before catching it at the tip and aiming it to him. He ducked away, giving you that dangerous look for you almost had hit him there. You froze in your movements before you saw that slowly proud smile coming back.
‘You could have killed me.’ He stated, dropping his sword as you walked over to him.
‘Your enemy can be as unpredictable as I am.’
‘Yes, I like you unpredictable.’ He reacted while grabbing you around your waist. You smiled, laying your hand on the back of his head, stroking over his braids.
‘I wouldn’t harm you if I knew you couldn’t take it.’
‘Hmmm.’ He pulled you in and you smiled, tilting your head a little before kissing him. You felt his hand move from your waist, to the small of your back down over your ass. It was then that you felt that familiar little thing. You pulled back.
‘Somebody is watching.’ You stated, looking aside to the little girl that was watching from in the doorway. You smiled for her curious look and let go of Ivar.
‘If that isn’t my most fearless little shield maiden.’ He said. You looked back to Ivar, grabbing his chin.
‘Don’t encourage her that much.’
‘I can do with her as I please, just as I can do with you as I please.’ He protested with an airy command.
‘Good luck with that. I’m not your army of heathens.’ You warned him while walking back towards your daughter.
‘No, you are not.’ You heard him say, proud.

Ivar had a very serious meeting, you laid your daughter to sleep in the back of the great hall before you walked back in to serve them all with food and ale. Yes, you were his wife, a queen, but you hardly acted like it, in that way you leveled with Ivar his rule, making the people love you for they didn’t always love him. He hardly looked at you, his blue eyes gazed concentrated to the map in the middle of the table. They were with more than ten men, his brothers, other earls, preparing on going back to England for much bigger planes.
‘When did you ever saw me ask something nicely brother?’ Ivar snapped. You looked up from the ale you were pouring in to the frustration in his gaze, what was going on for minutes now.
‘I’m just saying, barging in there won’t help the cause.’ Hvitserk reacted calmly. Ubbe didn’t even react on it. Others nodded slowly, the one a little more than the other.
‘I’m not there to ask politely, I’m there to take over. I have an heathen army on my back, you think they will challenge that?’ He pushed his finger on the table, challenging his men on getting in on that.
‘Father?’ You startled up out of your gazing towards his anger, looking for her tiny little body somewhere around. When you saw her you placed the ale down and started walking back.
‘You should be in bed.’ You softly said, looking aside to all the earls looking at her.
‘The monsters are back.’ She muttered, walking towards her father. Every bit of anger slowly fading from his face. You wanted to take her back to bed but she insisted on her father.
‘Did you feed them?’ He asked. You took a deep breath, looking aside to Hvitserk and Ubbe who were smiling on the sight of Ivar interacting with his daughter.
‘Yes.’
‘Did you shout at them? To stay away?’ He asked with a low voice. You stood still beside Ubbe his chair, looking over the heads who were enjoying this soft side of Ivar.
‘Can’t you shout?’ She asked. Ivar couldn’t resist a smile and she took that as an opportunity to crawl onto his lap.
‘Maybe you should ask politely?’ You suggested, hinting back to the previous conversation not much earlier. Ivar looked at you for a moment and you gave him a motherly look.
‘They won’t go away if you ask nicely, you need to be stronger, fierce, you need to make clear that you are the boss and you don’t play their games.’ Ivar whispered as she curled up in his arms. It was a image not much of those people got to see, this picture of Ivar, as a father, with his daughter into his lap while he stroke an strand of hair away. ‘We can do it together.’ He promised, noticing the fear in her vivid blue eyes.
‘They will listen to you.’ She muttered nodding, yawning before snuggling her head against his chest and closing her eyes. Ivar slowly looked up from her to you, gazing in each other’s eyes for a moment while the rest of the great hall was quiet. You formed the words with your lips; you’re a good father … without saying it out loud.
‘Now you can’t yell at us again.’ Hvitserk joked, aiming a piece of nut into his mouth. No he couldn’t … but he wasn’t caring for that anymore, the only thing he cared for was the feeling of her sleeping body in his arms.

anonymous asked:

Will we get a Hail Mary update soon?? Claire need to get back to Jamie and set things right!! :-)

Hail Mary

Premise: What if Jamie and Claire had 1) been more openly affectionate, and 2) not *had* to get married? 

Part I  Part II  Part III  Part IV


Part V

It was eight days later that I rode into the courtyard of Castle Leoch, just as dawn was breaking.  

I could have gotten there sooner, certainly, but I had kept off the main roads to the greatest extent possible, taking no chances of falling into the hands of strangers. I’d had quite enough of that, thank you very much, and while my stint with one highland clan had turned out rather well on the whole, I had no desire to try my luck with another, let alone the English army. 

And, despite the danger and the fatigue of the journey, my heart had been light and ready to burst for all eight of those days.

…’Rather well’…

Understatement to the extreme.

It had brought me Jamie.

As foolish and romantic a notion as it perhaps was, I had found myself many times on that hopeful, frantic journey wondering….was it fate that I had come through the stones? That I hadn’t been able to get back to Frank?  Had some bizarre destiny planted the fascination with wildflowers in my mind that morning so that I could be brought to Jamie, and him to me? Or had it all been mere luck? Could chance alone truly have resulted in this wonder? Could I honestly believe that mere odds should have allowed two people— so exquisitely attuned to one another, and yet separated by centuries and custom and country—to find one another in a dangerous, lonely universe?

But even as I had wondered endlessly in the long hours and days and nights on the Highland tracks, I knew it didn’t matter; made no true difference why or how by what means I had found myself in this place, this time. What mattered was the burning in my chest as I swung down from the horse; the need of him singing out from my heart; that he was the only thing my bleary eyes sought among the dozens of faces that gaped staring—glaring—at me from around the mist-laden courtyard.

“Mary, Michael, and Bride–CLAIRE!”

It was not Jamie but Mrs. Fitz barreling toward me from the kitchen dooryard, eyes wide…and wary.  

So, my suspicions had been right, then— the rent party had come directly back to Leoch. Part of me had hoped against hope that they would have continued further north, upon the secondary loop that Ned had pointed out to me that night upon the map. If they had, I would have arrived well before them—giving me precious, valuable time to convince Colum of the perfectly logical (and fictitious) explanation for how I had been so tragically and unexpectedly abducted from Ned and Murtagh and the rest and then escaped. It would have worked, I thought; as long as Jamie kept his silence. Would he?

I care for you, Claire.

My mind snapped back into awareness, back to the cold, stark realities of the present. I hadn’t arrived first, and thus the entire castle knew of my desertion.

Nonetheless, Mrs. Fitz had genuine affection in her voice as she clasped me hard to her bread-and-herb-scented bosom. “Oh, m’dear,” she said, sniffing, and voice tremulous with emotion, “they said—Och, child, they said such terrible things—!“

I returned the embrace, feeling affection flood my heart, even in the same moment as fear and dead-panic. “What—what have they said about me, Mrs. Fitz?”

Forewarned is forearmed, after all. 

She pulled back to stare searchingly up into my face, whispering each word so as not to be overheard by the many watchful onlookers. “That ye’re an English spy—and that ye made off in the night wi’ no warning—and that ye came among us tae do the Mackenzie harm wi’ the knowledge ye’ve gleaned in our midst…”

Well, all things considered, I suppose I couldn’t expect fairer than that. I’d carefully formulated my story, rehearsed the details forward and back—all I could do was pray that Colum would buy it. And that I could talk to Jamie at the first possible moment.  

“I’m not a spy, Mrs. Fitz,” I said, as confidently and reassuringly as I could, bending to kiss her warmly on the cheek. “I can assure you, it’s all a dreadful misunderstanding.”

Lord knew I was not a grand actress, but Mrs. Fitz gave an enormous exhale of relief, looked both flustered and pleased as she took both my hands in hers. “I didna wish tae believe it of ye, m’dear—Such treacherous behavior, I couldna—No, I DIDNA myself believe it, child, but Dougal said–”

“I understand perfectly, Mrs Fitz, truly I do. I promise that I’ll explain the truth as soon as possible to Colum—I mean the laird. In the meantime,” I was literally swaying where I stood, “might I—trouble you for some food?—and perhaps a basin of water to wash? Before I attract more attention?”

The water would be pleasant, but it was food that I needed desperately. The bannocks I had filched from camp were long gone when I reached Craigh na Dun. Having no skill as a hunter, I had had to make do with what roots and berries and other edibles I could forage along the roadside. I had made it to Leoch on stubbornness and hope alone; but the reality was that I was very close to spent from hunger, and was having trouble keeping my legs and my vision aright.  

“Of course, of course!” Mrs Fitz said, already guiding me toward the kitchens. “Sweet child, starved and half-frozen.” She stopped sharply as we reached the doorway, looking apologetic. “Of course, I will have tae send word tae Himself at once that ye’ve arrived, Claire….given….weel….”

Given that I was still a presumed English spy who had just sauntered back into MacKenzie Clan HQ.

“Of course, Mrs. Fitz,” I said gently, “it’s the right thing to do.”

While she commissioned the boy known as Young Alec to take the message to the laird’s cambers and deliver my few belongings up to a spare chamber, my eyes swung once more around and around the courtyard. No Jamie.

Ten minutes was all I needed—ten minutes to explain how wrong I’d been to run; that everything I’d spat at him that night had been a dreadful, vicious lie; that I missed him; that I wanted him; that I wanted to stay. And failing that, even one minute just to be in his arms; to lay my head against his chest and feel his arms pulling me safe and warm against him. One minute just to hold him, and tell him with the gentle softness of my touch, with my eyes, that he hadn’t misjudged my affections; that he hadn’t been…’mistaken.’

Come find me, Jamie, I prayed upward into the walls of Leoch. Find me. Let me tell you what’s in my heart. What was there all along.

I followed Mrs. Fitz inside and down the familiar corridors to the kitchens. She ushered me—ignoring the stares and whispers from the kitchen staff—into a small room behind the kitchen hearth that I had never noticed before. Less than a minute later, I was gulping a mug of thick beef broth (“Drink slowly, m’dear, ye dinna want griping  in yer wame, aye?”), while she and a teenage girl drew me a warm bath in a small wooden tub before the fire. While I had protested that cold water was perfectly sufficient, the warmth of it and the sweet scent of the chamomile soap were together as comforting and bracing as brandy to my weary body. She helped me wash and rinse my hair, then wrapped me thick towels with a second mug of broth as she conjured a clean gown, shift, and stays for me, and then helped me herself to dress.

She sat with me by the fire as I inhaled porridge with honey and a small loaf with soft cheese. Her manner was still kind and sympathetic, but her eyes remained sharp and leery.

“I willna hide from ye, Claire, that the laird is no’ likely tae speak your name with kindness. Dougal was cursing ye roundly tae anyone that would listen—Old Mr. Gowan has scarcely ceased wi’ shaking his head and bemoaning yer actions— and wee Jamie, weel, he’s barely spoken, hasn’t he?”

That jolted my heart into a frenzy. “Has he?” I said lightly, not meeting her eye.

“Jamie? Och, aye,” she said, nodding gravely. “He must ha’ been sore affected by it. I suppose ‘tis only right, wi’ his loyalty to his uncles, ken? But my Laoghaire— she was sae glad tae see him return (she carries quite the torch for him, ye see)—but he’s been silent and lifeless as a stone these past days—Has scarcely given her as much as a ‘Good day.’”

Perversely, that made my heart leap. He doesn’t want Laoghaire, not even for comfort. He doesn’t want just any woman. He wants…

“Begging your pardon, Mrs. Fitz.” Young Alec’s head appeared around the door. “The Mackenzie requests Mistress Beauchamp’s presence in his study at her earliest convenience.”

I didn’t have the balls to ask Mrs. Fitz for a heaping four-finger glass of whisky, but Jesus H. CHRIST how I needed one.

‘Her earliest convenience.’ Which was to say, immediately. Which was to say my fate was to be decided at once. Which meant that if it were the laird’s pleasure, I would be expelled from the castle before I’d had the chance to even lay eyes on Jamie. Which meant—

Dammit. God bloody fucking dammit.


“Will ye do me the honor of sitting with me a time, Mistress Beauchamp?”

I sat in the proffered armchair across the broad desk from Colum MacKenzie. The laird of Castle Leoch was—outwardly, at least— as serene as ever, his appearance decorous and tidy, despite the earliness of the hour. Despite my earlier need for a stiff drink, I couldn’t bring myself to touch the glass he’d had a servant bring me.

He sat there surveying me, that quiet, wry smile playing at his lips. I lowered my eyes and waited, looking awkwardly around the room by way of distraction from the tension in the room. The laird’s study was just the same: luxuriously crammed with its beautiful furnishings befitting the MacKenzie’s station and wealth. His birds cheeped and chirruped eagerly, apparently not at all sensible of the tension pervading the room.

“Déja vu,” Colum said at last.

“What? I mean—“ I stammered, trying to recover from his startlingly calm non-sequitur. “I beg your pardon, my laird?”

“Déja vu. It’s French,” Colum said evenly, eyes twinkling. “It means, ’already seen.’ But surely—“ he said, gracefully arcing an eyebrow, “you, having family in France, would know that?”

I returned his level gaze with one of my own, though I smiled sweetly. “I do apologize, my laird, I simply was taken off-guard. Yes, I do know what the word means.”

“Aye, verra good…excellent.” He nodded sagely, lacing his fingers together on the tabletop, not breaking eye contact. “Then you’ll perhaps know, too, why I should be experiencing such a phenomenon at this moment….”

I knew precisely what he was getting at, but I feigned polite ignorance, waiting for him to continue, to make the first move. 

He did. “You…in my study…playing the harmless ingénue…after appearing on clan lands under highly suspicious circumstances.” He raised his eyebrows. “It does seem—to ring a certain bell, does it not?”

My heart was racing with adrenaline, but I smiled a smile of simple regret and opened my mouth to speak—I had rehearsed this all the way from Craigh na Dun, after all—but a pounding on the door made me all but jump out of my skin. 

“Enter,” Colum said, not seeming in the least bit surprised by the interruption. I regained my composure and remained facing forward. 

There came the squeal of hinges and the unmistakable snort behind me. “So it’s true then,” Dougal MacKenzie’s voice said said, low and hissing, “the prodigal wench has returned.”

My mind was a constant stream of all the curses I’d ever learned, in every tongue, and I’d played with street urchins in countless countries.It shouldn’t have surprised me, now that I came to think of it—Dougal was Colum’s right-hand, after all, and I had officially been in his charge when I’d made my escape— but it did. I had prepared for Colum, for his savage cunning masked in level-headed civility; I was equipped for that: for the turn of phrase and the traps of language and logic. But Dougal was another matter entirely—I couldn’t trust myself to remain calm and collected in the face of his pugnacious and irreverent manner. But I had to bloody do it, prepared or no. 

I didn’t bother to turn around, just said simply, “I’m not a wench, Mr. MacKenzie. And yes, I have returned.” This exchange was too important to let him raise my ire. 

“Prodigal liar, then,” he said, appearing to my left and coming to stand next to his brother, arms crossed and eyes blazing as he glared down at me. “Conspirator. Agent.”

My gaze was still cool, my voice still polite, but I could feel the shards of glass in it, dangerous to both of us. “I swear to you, Mr. Mackenzie: I’m none of those things.”

He laughed, cruelly and vicious, bending at the waist to put his face mere inches from mine. “Ye expect us to just believe the mere word of a lying, filthy wh–”

Will ye tell us, Mistress Beauchamp,” Colum said, his sharp tone a silent warning which Dougal must have comprehended at once, for he stepped back from me, and came to stand at Colum’s right hand, his own hand resting on his dirk handle.

Colum continued. “Will ye tell us what it was, exactly, that made ye suddenly choose to leave the rent party….and just as suddenly return?”

I took a deep breath, ready. “You will certainly recall, my laird, that since my—“ (Filthy, barbarous abduction). “—Arrival— with the Clan MacKenzie, so shortly after the death of my husband, it has been my desire to reach Inverness.”

The laird nodded. 

“It was my intention to join with friends there in hopes of beginning a new life among those I trusted. It was to them that I went the night I departed from the rent party. My longing for familiar faces had grown so strong, that I could no longer bear to wait. That is why I left. The simple desire to be among friends once more.” 

Dougal made a sound of deep derision, but Colum only nodded. “Would ye be so kind as to share with us their names?”

“Reverend Reginald Wakefield and his wife, Catherine, both old friends of my departed parents. I was a child, the last time I met with them, but there was no doubt in my mind that they would receive me. However–” I heaved a deep breath, pleased to feel a lump in my throat that lent emotion to my voice as I revealed the ‘sad’ news. “Upon arriving in Inverness, I learned that the Wakefields had taken ship for the Indies three years ago, to begin a Presbyterian mission on the island of—”

“How daft do ye think we are, woman?” Dougal growled, with a gesture so violent I shrunk back instinctively into my chair. “Ye dinna have friends in Inverness and ye NEVER did. Else you’d have written to them upon your first arrival here.”

I straightened once more and did my best to appear innocently perplexed. “What makes you think I didn’t write to them, Mr. Mackenzie?”

“Because—“ Colum interjected, his calm—earlier, such an asset to my nerves— now terrifying. Not a hand of clemency: a razor-thin knife,“—I make it my business to be aware of all correspondence in and out of the castle. Oh, not necessarily the contents,” he said, seeing the shock and disapproval on my face, “just who is writing to whom while enjoying my hospitality—as is my right as laird.” He folded his hands. “And there has been no letter to or from a Claire Beauchamp at any point since you arrived on MacKenzie lands.” 

I opened my mouth, but he cut me off with a soft, “—And if ye did manage to communicate with them… it does make one wonder…” He gave me his most piercing gaze yet, stealing my breath, “—why a woman with nothing to conceal should go to such lengths to do so…undetected?”

No. No no no no no, this was slipping so quickly away from my control.

“I do appreciate how all this must appear on the surface.” I could feel my heart racing with panic as I grasped at straws, desperate to remain calm and failing miserably. There was an audible quaver in my voice—damn it, damn ME!—“All I can do, my laird, is swear that I mean you and your clan no ill will, I have no ties or contact with the English government, whatsoever and I am willing to attest to those truths on anything you wish to name. The simple fact, however it may appear, is I saw a chance to reach Inverness and I took it. That is all.”

“Liar,” Dougal hissed. “Admit it: You’re a paid informant for the English. Ye left our company ten days ago to report our goings-on to your superiors, and now you’re back, despite your sweet face and claim to innocence, wi’ fresh orders and OPEN EARS.”

I was panicking. “That—that is simply not—”

He was looming over me again. I could smell his breath and feel it hot on my forehead. “Admit the truth, woman, and we’ll perhaps show ye some mercy. SPEAK!” 

A cacophony of sound filled the room and startled the birds. 

Dougal’s violent snarling: “Liar! LIAR!”

A whimpering sound. Me? 

Colum’s sharp, commanding, “I can think of no just reason—”

“LIAR!”

“—that a woman wi’ nothing to hide, should—” 

“Please—please—you must believe–”

Dougal’s hands on the arms of my chair. 

My eyes closed, the colors roaring in the dark. 

Stop. Just make it stop. Stop.  

“—DUNGEONS–”

“Please—“

“—Loosen your tongue–”

“JUST TELL THEM, Claire!”

I felt his voice jolt through my body like a wave of electricity and I whirled my head to see him standing in the corner, arms crossed. 

JAMIE. 

I nearly sunk to the floor in abject relief. He must have entered with Dougal, remaining silent. But he was here. HERE

Jamie. MY Jamie.

Floor be damned: I wanted to leap out of the chair and fly into his arms—those strong arms that had held me and warmed me and kept me; Wanted to feel his skin against mine. Wanted—wanted so badly it felt like physical pain in my chest—to kiss him and feel his fingers in my hair. To talk. To tell. JAMIE. 

I forced myself to remain still, but inside I was thrumming with relief and joy. Everything would be alright, now—Jamie was here.

Tell them, Mistress,” he said, and the coldness in that voice was so shocking I blinked as though struck. 

He had stepped forward a pace or two, so I could see that his eyes, too, were hard and icy, revealing none of his usual bright eagerness. Even more disturbing than this, they held an alarming intensity, some silent meaning I couldn’t comprehend. “It’s alright, mistress. Tell them the truth of why ye fled.”

Another jolt, and I could do nothing but stare, my mouth gobbling open and shut. The truth? 

For one wild, ludicrous moment, I was screaming: ‘how does he know I was trying to get through the stones?’

But he didn’t know; he couldn’t know; he could never know that truth.

“I….CAN’T.” I finally said, teeth gritted and voice tight. (Because I don’t know what in bloody hell you mean, you damned, wonderful—)

“Ye can,” he said, walking around to my right to stand with his uncles. “Go on, Mistress. There’s less shame in it than being mistaken and hung for a spy.”

“What’s this about, Jamie?” Colum demanded, his eyes flashing.

Dougal, too, was mounting in his own brand of fury. He took a menacing step toward his nephew. “D’ye mean to say that ye had further knowledge of her departure—Information that you chose to withhold??”

“Aye,” Jamie said, his eyes downcast. “Though it wasna mine to disclose, before.”

Dougal gave a guttural roar and made as if to lunge for Jamie behind Colum’s chair, but before he could say another word, Jamie raised a hand and looked directly at me with that same hard eye as before. “With your permission, Mistress?”

I saw it now, what that look meant.  

It said: be silent.

I nodded and dropped my eyes to my lap, seeing the three of them behind the desk only from the upper periphery of my vision.

“Mistress Beauchamp fled that night…because I spurned her advances.”

I couldn’t have spoken a word if I’d tried. If I could have, it might have been a gut-punched, ‘…Jesus.’

He went on, quiet and careful. “I begged her to forgive me—Told her truly what a fine, beautiful lady she is, and how much I admired and respected her—but that—my allegiances lay elsewhere.”

He placed a hard emphasis on that word, and I thought I saw a shifting, enough so that I chanced a glance upward to witness the significant look Jamie was sharing with Colum. To my astonishment and relief, I thought I saw something dawning in the laird’s expression. Jesus Christ…this was going to work!

“And—being, as we all know—a verra strong-willed and reckless sort of woman, Mistress Beauchamp departed in the night—” He turned his gaze to me, “—too hurt …and vexed to remain…That’s how it was….aye, Mistress?”

I felt myself nodding but I was still staring down at my hands . I could see him in my periphery, his image blurring and distorting as the tears gathered. My throat was burning. With shame.

That’s how it was. Despite his phrasing, he wasn’t asking me. He was telling. Hurt and vexed—the mildest words possible for what I had done to him. His eyes told me the truth: Furious. Heartbroken.

God, what a fool I was. I’d come back, free in my own heart, ready to sing out a ‘ten-minute’ apology, then throw myself into his arms with hardly a thought for just how deeply I had savaged him with my words, my rejection.

His eyes were on the floor, now, and I wanted to tear my own guts out. 

Beauchamp, look at yourself.

I was.

And I saw—vividly—how I had ground his heart into the dirt when he’d handed it to me so tenderly and freely.

I had had my reasons at the time, yes. But God, how I had twisted the knife in his flesh. How I had ripped him.  

He’d made me a gift of himself and everything he would ever be, and to his eyes, I hadn’t even glanced at it before flinging it into the fire.

I did, Jamie! God, I DID glance. I looked and looked and it frightened me because I WANTED it. And I ran because I was married—because of Frank. But he’s gone now. He’s gone and I want YOU. 

Can’t you see that in my face? LOOK, Jamie. Find me, here.

“Well… that does seem to explain things.”

I looked up at Colum in surprise, wiping my eyes, which had been streaming. Apparently my regret and shame over what I’d done to Jamie was playing off rather nicely in support of the narrative that I was the lover that had been spurned. Even Dougal’s hostile posture had softened, though his look of distaste had not.

Colum, however, was not done. “Though it doesna altogether account for your return, this morning. If it was our Jamie’s disregard that prompted ye to flee…why come back?”

“I knew almost immediately,” I said quickly, marshaling my tremulous voice and picking up the narrative from Jamie, thanking him silently for handing me a lie with a fighting chance of success, “that it would look dreadful—as it indeed does, I am well aware—to have forsaken my word to the MacKenzies on a mere affaire de coeur.”  

I met eyes with Jamie and lost my breath for a moment. He seemed to sense that my looking at him disrupted my train of thought, and he casually began pacing before the bookshelves, moving to my right and slowly out of my line of sight.

I carried on. “Upon learning that my friends were unreachable, I did consider going south to England—or to Edinburgh or some other place I might have cause to use my skills as a healer, but my honor prompted me to return–”

“Honor,” scoffed Dougal.

“—and to beg the forgiveness of the laird and permission to remain in his service. Which I do now, humbly, under whatever terms you demand.”

Silence reigned, interrupted only by the chirping of the birds.

Colum and Dougal  leaned their heads together, sharing a heated, whispered conference. I wanted desperately to turn in my chair and look at Jamie, touch his hand, thank him, but I forced myself to stay still.

At last, Colum straightened with a look of decision, and surveyed me intently for a long moment before saying, “You may remain at Leoch, Mistress Beauchamp.”

My sigh of relief was far louder than I’d anticipated. “Thank you—THANK YOU, my laird.”

“BUT—” he said, firmly, “you will confine your movements within the walls of the main castle. And an escort will be reinstated until you have earned my forgiveness. And my trust.”

I nodded. “That is—more than fair, sir. I will respect your wishes.”

We made our farewells and I rose, taking the time to give my deepest, most respectful curtsy I could muster, but turned the very first second I was able, tuned so that I could see Jamie, ask where we might go to talk, alone.

But all I saw was the swish of a vanishing plaid.



[[Next week they talk, I promise]]

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“ all the days I spent without you
I can’t even remember them..”